You either own or run a business, and so you know what it takes to make a concept work. You must be providing a product or a service which is or has been in demand. If your business is thriving then congratulations, if not doing so well, then take heart. You have the means within yourself to expand and create new and innovative products or service. You just have to believe you have and that you can.
You may be in the position where you aren’t sure about how you expand and accelerate growth in your business, or you may have a great idea, but are not sure how to make it a reality. Either way, the first thing you have to do is get clear.
The innovative process is not going to begin until your mind formulates a clear outcome. The problem is, is that we get fixated on the details, and the “how’s” and this actually inhibits the creative process. All you need to do, to start is have an outcome.
I remember coaching a young entrepreneur in her 20’s. She had paralysed herself into inaction because she wasn’t sure which career path to take. She had got to a crossroads in her life, and wasn’t sure what she wanted. After some exploration, she realised that she didn’t need to be specific about exactly what her career looked like, but she did need to be specific about how she would feel about what she did.
Thus her success criteria and outcome became. “She would feel enthused and love what she did. She would feel motivated and grateful that she was doing work which made a huge difference”. Ok, so she still had to make choices, but outlining an outcome that meant something to her gave her a standard or a benchmark to work towards. As she tried different things, if her outcome didn’t materialise, then she knew she had to try something else.
You may have an innovative idea, and a clear outcome for a product or a service which is going to make a difference, but are not sure how to make it happen. Alternatively, you may just want to make your business profitable, more profitable or make a bigger impact, but at this stage you may have no idea about how that is going to happen. In both situations simply set out the outcomes that you want, and that process will give you a massive head start.
The next step in the innovative process is to believe it can happen. Doubt is the biggest prohibitive force in the innovative process. Doubt shuts off your mind to the possibilities out there. If you think you can’t then – guess what – you can’t. If you doubt you can, then it either shuts off the mind, or delays the realisation of your innovative idea.
I’ll give you an example. A number of years ago, a team I worked with wanted to be great at customer service. To change the mind-set, the only way was to access some in-depth customer service training. After some research, across the board of all the providers who could help, the cost came to some £25k for all of the staff to be trained (It was a large team, and the training stretched over a number of months).
There was no way that sort of budget was available. There was a resignation across the management team that it wasn’t going to happen. But I asked the team to keep open to possibilities. That if we kept out doubt then a solution would appear. And it did. About 3 weeks later we received a call from a company who had heard we were looking for customer service training, could they come and talk to us? Because we hadn’t dismissed the possibility, we agreed. It turned out the training company had access to grant funding for just what we were looking for. Altogether, a team of 30 people were trained for 9 months, with a City and Guilds qualification for under £2k.
I could relate many stories like that which show the power of trusting that you can make things happen is key to the innovative process. The vital message here is that you simply need to get started with an outcome and then believe it can happen.
Here at People Discovery, we help clients formulate their success criteria, and then find a way to make things happen, which works to each owners individual style, to realise their outcome.
If you have any questions, or have a great innovative story to tell, then let us know. We would love to hear from you.
This coming week, I have a brilliant guest blogger who is a writer and entrepreneur, who will talk about sparking creativity. Look out for her blogspot in the next few days!
People Discovery is an Innovation Specialist, working with NE BIC to help businesses make there innovative ideas come to life. For more information; contact Christina at [email protected]. www.peoplediscovery.co.uk.